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E3 First Impressions: Nintendo Wii U

Posted on Friday, June 10 @ 01:54:43 Eastern by Josh_Laddin


Nintendo's taken the top spot for longest lines at E3 two years running now. Last year the 3DS generated 2+-hour lines for people desperate to get their grubby hands on the new handheld, and this year the same happened on the console side with the Wii U. Luckily, as prestigious members of the media (what are you snickering at?), we're able to bypass the lines and get some quality time with the demos on hand.

I won't even bother going into the name, because really, what's the point? It's already been done to death, and nothing anyone ever says will change the minds of whatever geniuses think these names up anyway.

Most of the demos were compatible with both the Wii U controller and traditional Wii controller. In fact, the Nintendo reps made a big point of using both controllers for the same game, as each provides a starkly different method of control and sometimes even a different role to play.

The first game we saw was New Super Mario Bros. Mii, which played just like the last New Super Mario Bros. game except you can also play as—you guessed it—your Miis. This one had the least difference between the controllers, both providing the same platforming experience you're used to with 2D Mario. It was interesting to note that most people who used the Wii U controller, though, seemed to focus on the controller's screen to follow the action, essentially playing the game as if it were a handheld.


Next up was Battle Mii, which pitted the Wii U player against two Wii players in a 2-on-1 shoot-out similar to some of the old Mario Party mini-games. The Wii U player got a spaceship and had to take out the players on foot. It controls by using the left stick to move the ship while the built-in gyroscope actually handled the view and targeting reticule, having you physically move the controller around in the 360-degree space around you. It was a more than a little awkward at first, but a lot of that came from the fact that it's tough to move the unit around freely while it's tethered to a podium.

Chase Mii is an interesting look at potential usages for the Wii U screen. It was essentially a game of tag, where the Wii U player was "it" and had to run around a large arena dodging a team of four Wii players. The Wii players had no map and had to communicate with each other to try and corner the Wii U...user (Wii U-ser?). Meanwhile, the Wii U screen showed an aerial map with all player positions, which that one person used to try and run circles around the enemy team.

There were a few other demos, like a simple drawing game and a mini-game where you used the Wii U controller as a "shield" to block incoming virtual arrows, but the games of note were really the multiplayer showings.

Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Zelda HD demo, which showcased Link facing off against a big spider boss reminiscent of Queen Ghoma in glorious HD. What piqued my interest, however, was that it wasn't a battle I remember seeing from any other Zelda game to date. I asked if we might expect a brand new HD Zelda game sometime down the road featuring this fight, but as expected, all I got were cryptic shrugs and "maybes".


But a guy can dream, right?
Tags:   E3, nintendo, Wii U


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